it's crazy for me to think that it's really been seven weeks since i've started this whole "weekly blogging" thing. it's been a labor of love for me and i've really benefitted from it. so much so that i might continue a form of it some way or another this fall. we'll see.
anyway, let's start:
sunday: sunday was a bit weird. we had church at camp and jonathan taught on ecclesiastes. it was really beneficial and different from most of the lessons that had been shared in the past. i really enjoyed it. i was really excited about the week because i had youngest girls with jenny. i knew that one of our campers was going to be a handful, but everyone else was kind of new to me. sunday went by really quickly. mostly jenny and i just laughed at the little girls. they decided to call us their momma bird. let me tell you, there is nothing creepier than being in the middle of a field and having a little girl (that you barely know) walk up to you and say "mommyyyy." the day past as sundays usually do. it was weird to think "this is my last sunday as a counselor". my mind moved past that pretty quickly, though. the night game was a little different than usual. from the get-go, ryan (our camp director) was acting kind of loopy. so when he met us in the basement and said "i've been brainstorming", we new something was going to be different about the week.
monday: monday started with an early morning and sun. jenny and i checked cabins and took naps during our free periods. it was nice to just have some time to hang out with her. she's pretty fun to be around and such. the last twenty minutes of rest hour was really fun. we had a stretching circle and wrote a pretty crazy story. monday afternoon we played a game that i can't for the life of me remember. i bet it involved running and being in the sun. but i really can't remember. monday night campfire was a sweet one for me. i sat quietly and wrote while ryan spoke. i feel like this marked the beginning of the de-loading process of week five. as the week went on, i became more and more focused on emptying my mind so i could stay focused. i don't know if that makes sense to you, but it makes so much sense to me. cabin devotions were absolutely crazy. if i learned anything this week, it's that nine-year-old girls are crazy. and they (for the most part) cannot listen that long. hahaha i think we were asked four separate times how old God was this night. jen and i explained it the first few times we were asked...and then we were just like "what did we JUST say" after that.
tuesday: ah this day was so nice. the morning started early (per usual) and we all found out that we had the most campers this summer than ever before. ryan had said at the beginning of the summer that if we broke the record, he would shave his head into a mohawk. so obviously we got excited for the mohawk to come. this morning, jenny and i checked cabins and took showers and then went to the coffeeshop in livingston with jacob. it was nice to get away from camp for an hour and sit in quiet. i wrote letters and we all talked very little. tuesday afternoon we went on the mountain hike. it was really fun. i love the mountain hike a lot, but this one just sticks out in my mind. me and two of my girls (micah and sarah) sat on the rocks at the top and looked. we looked at things we liked and pointed them out to each other. micah liked the brightness of the sun on the leaves. sarah liked how water sparkled on the rocks. we all liked the color of the moss. it was a beautiful time and inspired me greatly. camp always reminds me at how good it is to live in a constant state of wonder. tuesday night was the forty-yard dash. it was a crazy time that was full of funny stretches and todd wearing my dress and me just laughing a lot.
campfire went well. i absolutely love singing with anna. she has a lovely voice and our voices meld really well together. so worship this week was really fun. the night game was night-octaball. mostly it was spent trying to keep the campers from freaking out. devotions was short and sweet. we all started porch talks this night. it definitely was an eye-opening experience for me. it s so humbling to be a counselor and talk to girls who are vastly more wise and spiritually sound than you are. it's even more humbling to talk to a littler girl who really doesn't have much of a clue about what God's grace and love really is. i had to go back to the basics and it was a really good lesson for me.
wednesday: the summer has been a really long one. and it definitely began wearing on my health this day. i started getting a bad cold/flu. i really loved polar-bearing this morning. i don't exactly know why. i think it was because the girls and jenny got so into it. activities went well. there were some really sweet return-campers in jacob's and i's photography class. it was also fun to just hang out with jacob all morning. he's such a cool cat. wednesday rest hour was pretty much crazy. i threatened bank time and gave out bank time a lot. during snack shack, jenny and i checked cabins. no one knew we were coming then so the cabins were pretty messy. the funnest thing about being cabin inspector is feeling like you get to go behind the scenes and see how the boys cabins are. mostly they're gross and occupied by shirtless boy counselors. our girls did the zip line this afternoon. they had enough people working it, so i worked the climbing tower with a jr. counselor named hunter. hunter's so cool and we became pretty close friends this summer. i kind of treasure the nice talk we had. by this time, i was getting pretty attached to a couple of our girls. isabelle is a cute little freckled girl with read hair and the hugest brown eyes ever. her demeanor is really sweet and obedient. micah was another girl that i just loved to pieces. she has wild blonde hair and was so so spunky. we took hose showers and got ready for banquet. the little girls are really fun with banquet because they like to dress up, but they're not trying to impress any boys or anything. so they don't have to look perfect. i liked this banquet night a lot. it was a little crazy because it was the last one, but it was also nice. campfire was beautiful. i usually am not super emotional, but i was this night. i don't know if it was a combination of being tired and seeing ryan struggle to get the message out or what, but by the time he was done delivering the gospel, i was in tears. some of our campers stayed behind at the campfire afterwards. one of them accepted Christ! it was a little magical to sit with jenny and pray for ryan and listen to him answer the kids' questions. after this sweet evening came chaos. when jen and i got back to the cabin, some of the girls that stayed back at the campfire began trying to baptize each other in the bathroom. it was a mixture of frustrating and hilarious. i had a very rough porch talk this night that ended in hysterical tears from my camper and sympathetic ones from jenny and i. it's so hard to be a child. especially if your home life is less than perfect. my camper didn't know what she could do to change it, but she did know she adored her family and couldn't ever leave them. it was kind of ridiculously heartbreaking.
thursday: it rained a lot this day. i kind loved it. we had extended rest hour because of the rain and planned the BEST skit ever. jenny was the mastermind behind the whole thing. after the nice rest, we checked cabins. isabelle, micah, and i went on a "mud run" with a small group this day. it was super fun and muddy and exhausting. mostly it was fun to just do something so different from the usual afternoon activity. thursday night skit night was one of the best ones yet. jenny and i didn't know where to have unit campfire, so we had it at the burn barrel. it was so fun and super adorable to see all the little girls around the fire. we roasted marshmallows like proper little hobos. although the girls weren't particularly focused, it was really nice to minister to them next to jenny. i feel like this week was really good for me because it showed me a whole new side of jen. we are so different in a lot of things, but we work really well together. porch talks ran pretty short this evening and i got to go to sleep early. it was relieving to know that i didn't have to teach another devotion for a while. that sounds bad, but camp leaves you so exhausted spiritually. you give and give and give and are rarely filled yourself. it's good to know that i have a time ahead of me where i can be on the other end of the whole discipling thing.
friday: this day went by the fastest out of all the days this summer. i felt like i got out of bed, blinked, and then got back into bed. photography ended well. rest hour was hilarious. jen and i had "snugglebus" time. this is where we say "snuggle bussss" and everybody gets on jenny's bed and snuggles. jenny and i were pretty delirious at this point, so everything was funny. water day went well. it was the first water day in a while that it was actually really hot. so the pool felt super nice. i almost had a meltdown friday evening before awards. the girls were crazy and super disobedient (excluding three or so of our campers who actually listened) and they were wearing on my nerves. i also was just SO tired. so i went into the freezer and screamed. the freezer's soundproof so it was super satisfying. i got to talk to erin (a really cool jr. counselor) and that was a sweet time. ryan's mohawk was cut and everybody went crazy! worship this night was probably the most moving because i knew it was the last time that i would be apart of bonfire worship on the island. i watched as the sun set and the moon rose. as we sang "how he loves", a cool breeze stirred the leaves around us. it was truly marvelous. it also got me thinking of how much God's love is like a cool breeze on a hot summer evening. it comforts and refreshes and revives. testimonies went well. i (like usual) wasn't planning on sharing. but then i realized that this was my last night ever. so i did. i used the fact that i had been thinking on how to carry camp with me this fall to my advantage and challenged the campers to do the same. it was so incredible to feel like none of the words i was speaking were my own. i felt that they were all the Holy Spirit speaking through me. the "friday night party" that usually happens didn't really happen this night. our girls were being so rambunctious that both jenny and i put on our momma voices and scolded them into submission. after that it was fun. we took webcam photos and had one last snugglebus time. then jen and sarah and i stayed up until two making the slideshow. that was kind of a perfect way to end the week. it was quiet and fun and full of lots of laughter.
saturday: was so nice. the campers left and it was sad. some of them i will legitimately miss a LOT. jenny and i cleaned the cabin with our jr. counselor (peyton) and then we popped bubble wrap to celebrate. we slept in the pine forest and took showers and such. last night we had a little banquet for the staff. it was a really sweet time. we laughed and danced to sinatra and had "goobie" awards. the most impacting part of the night was hearing ryan share his thoughts on the summer. he teared up within seconds of starting his testimony. i instantly knew i was going to cry. out of everyone at camp, i will miss ryan the most. he talked about what a blessing we were to him and he encouraged us (with such zeal) that our work was not in vain this summer. ah. it was so wonderful and so influencing and so inspiring. i cried pretty openly. afterwards, we all did dishes and laughed and danced some more. anna, julie, hannah, jenny, and i went to sonic and looked at the lightning. the night ended with anna and i giggling in my bunk and agreeing that this was the best summer of camp yet.
today's been nice. i went to church with a group from camp and said some final goodbyes. i got to spend some time one-on-one with hannah and drive a lot in the rain.
i've had the best summer counseling at camp. but i'm so glad that my time at camp isn't over. i still am working almost two weeks of retreats with some of my most favorite people and that's so exciting to me. i think it will give me a chance to detox and work camp out of my system...instead of quitting it cold turkey.
overview: this week has definitely talk me the importance of being able to deliver the gospel simply. it doesn't always have to be a big, theological presentation. it really just comes down to the fact that God loves us and we can accept that love through Jesus's blood. it's also taught me more about jenny's and i's friendship and how i can better love her.
this summer (counseling wise) has first and foremost taught me that God's power is so much bigger than my own. He is so large and i can simply rest in that. it's taught me that the best times are the hardest. and that He really is the source of every good thing that i can express. whether it be love, or patience, or wisdom, any time i can be those, it's because of the Lord's grace and provision.
it's been a beautiful summer, but it's not over yet!